GH WEEKEND AUGUST 2003
FROM BEGINNING TO END
The Personal Stuff
What am I doing here? How can it be that I am driving down a country road in faded jean shorts and a t-shirt today when yesterday I was having a blast being a hot chick in cool clothes meeting GH actors and talking girl talk with my friends? Was it a dream? A hallucination? No, I unpacked the suitcase this morning. I can feel the drag in my body from a day of travel that didn’t end until 2:00 a.m. this morning. OK, the weekend, the adventure, the funny stories really, really happened. If you’re reading this you probably know how I love the odd little events that happen in front of me. I thought I’d tell those stories first. Are you thinking, “Yeah, Kathy. It was just some travel and a few plane rides”? Umm, no, it was more.
Friday morning the transportation circus began. Since my husband travels during the week, hoops were spinning and jumping as we figured out how I would get to the shuttle to the airport, how he would pick up the car and where the kids would go after school. We navigated successfully and Friday morning the plan rolled into action. After waving my children off on their respective school buses, I had half an hour to make it down the highway in morning traffic to the hotel where the shuttle would pick me up. Stopping at my friend’s house so she could hug me and tell me to be good, be safe, etc. (I needed someone to say the words since my husband wasn’t home) I hopped onto I-10 and boogied down the road. On the way I had to call Carolyn (already at the hotel in L.A. waiting for me) on my cell phone in traffic to inform her that I was nervous and I was bugged that I’d forgotten to paint my fingernails when I painted my toenails. Like fingernails really matter, but hey, my insides kept wavering between excited happy dance and panic so talking helped.
Arriving at the hotel, the shuttle drove up a few minutes later right on schedule. Two men hopped out to lift my one suitcase into the back and we were off. Smooth sailing except one of the men was emanating a loud, foul body odor that seemed to envelop every particle of air inside the van on the hour drive to the airport. By the time the airport appeared my nerves were fine because all I could think about was jumping out of that van and breathing some fresh air.
So far, so good. Oodles of time until departure. Plenty of time. Plus an hour delay. Plus another 15 minute wait, etc. Meanwhile, like a herd of cattle we tramped to three different gates as Continental tried to find a plane not experiencing mechanical difficulties. It was all good though. I entertained myself by walking to the different gates behind a hunky guy who obviously worked out and sported a great behind. Hey, I had to take the entertainment where I could find it.
Nothing exciting happened on the plan ride except for the nervous hat lady’s insistence that no one place their bag in the overhead bin next to her yellow plastic shopping bag of hats. “Hey,” she said, tapping one guy on the arm as he lifted his bag, “watch out for my hats. You can put your bag up there but watch out for my hats.” The man looked at her uncertainly and then stowed his luggage a few bins down. And so it went.
After landing, a guy named Rafe drove me to the Days Inn at Studio City in the shuttle that he wanted to charge me $13.00 extra dollars for. Pfft! No way. We negotiated and I ended up paying the $20 originally agreed upon. And then it happened. Our eyes met across the pool, she called out my name, and I knew it was Carolyn. The name and voice finally had a face. And what a beautiful face it is with huge blue eyes surrounded by impossibly long lashes in a petite body. The girl should be on a soap! Scott Eagan (Johnny) certainly found her attractive (but that’s another story to be told by Carolyn). We began talking like we’d known each other always without one awkward moment. I was afraid I’d meet her, shyness would take over and my words would dry up. Didn’t happen.
After a dinner of sushi (we both enjoy sushi and are left handed), we made our way to the Sportsman’s Lodge to scope out the place and await Katrina’s arrival. In a courtyard surrounded by flowers and water, we watched and chatted with the folks standing in line to attend the Friday evening P.C. dinner. A few minutes after the P.C. line disappeared I saw a woman walking towards us with the sun at her back. I couldn’t see the face but I was certain it was Katrina. Nudging Carolyn, I said, “I think that’s Katrina.” Carolyn obligingly called her name and sure enough, another face to match up with a name and a voice. It was surreal how we all hugged and began talking like we’d been to lunch the other day. I can’t get over how seamlessly we meshed and connected. If nothing else happened for the rest of the weekend, I would have made the trip just to meet these amazing women. (Don’t worry, LOTS happened and I’ll write it up next.)
If you are an EOS reader who enjoys Katrina’s nonsoapy journals, you probably have a feel for her personality – caring, funny, a little wacky, great memory (I say with envy), not as heavy as she thinks she is. Katrina says she carries her weight well. I say, she thinks of herself as heavier than she is. At any rate, we were three pretty darn good looking women if I do say so myself. We were like Mutt and Jeff and Jeff. Assuming Mutt is the tall one, I would be Mutt at 5’-8” and a bit gawky next two petite (see Carolyn, I haven’t called you short yet) Jeff’s. We went to the patio restaurant area so Katrina could order dinner and we could talk. And talk. And talk. Katrina knows people all over the place and I could barely keep names and faces straight. At one point, we spoke with the ladies sitting behind us who were familiar with EOS. Huge Chad Brannon fans, I was told by one that she used to read my column but she’d stopped because I wrote something bad about Chad. Wake up call for me! You really read what I write? You take it to heart? Since I try to poke fun of every character equally, I hope she’ll read again sometime. Maybe she will.
By this time, both Carolyn and I were feeling the effects of a day of travel and the two-hour time difference. We returned to the hotel to get our beauty rest for Saturday’s big events.
Blurs of motion and waves of noise describe the day. After breakfast, we arrived at the courtyard where fan clubs set up tables and factions converge to make their case. Baby bracelets for Sonny and Carly’s baby, Zem pins, Chad Brannon pencils, Pictures, Scripts, candid photos and studio photos presented in all shapes and sizes were available for purchase, silent auction bids, and raffle prizes. Surrounded by a press of bodies on all sides it would be overwhelming except that the event is well organized and there was a sense of camaraderie and common ground. Not a big souvenir collector, I tended to look a bit and then stand back and watch. The Fashion Police would have been alternately delighted and appalled. People in all shapes, sizes, and make up styles mingled in outfits of all kinds - sexy, casual, businesslike, elegant, and outrageous. Out of curiosity I would have loved to tap a few people on the shoulder and inquire, “And what were you thinking when you put that on this morning?” But of course, I didn’t. I may be judgmental in my fashion opinions, but I try to keep them to myself. But for the record, socks with sandals and a short skirt don’t fly. They must seem like a fine choice to other women because I saw a couple.
From the courtyard, we checked into the luncheon and found our separate tables. I was assigned to the wacky table. One nice lady and her friend were connoisseurs of soaps, watching all of them; two other ladies sat in pinched face disapproval not seeming to enjoy anything about GH (yes, I wondered why they paid money to attend the fan event for a show they were not enjoying); and a mother/daughter pair who will be called the Psycho Duo from here on out. Those two are why actors are afraid of fans. The Psycho Duo continually rose from the table to stake out the hallway where the actors were gathering to be introduced. Despite being asked nicely several times and then being kicked out of the hallway, they kept jumping up and trying to get into the press room. Failing in their mission, every few minutes they’d sit down breathlessly and laugh at how clever they were. After the fourth round of dodge security, stalk the actors, I was embarrassed for them. After the eighth time I wanted to Velcro their butts to their chairs.
Now if you are one of the people who wandered leisurely to the bathroom hoping to spot an actor or even if you hung about in the hall for a while, I am not talking about you. I went to the bathroom after lunch was served and scored a glimpse of Steve Burton as I strolled down the stairs and the door opened where the actors were waiting. But I didn’t try to slip into the door and hobnob. And I bet you didn’t either. I bet you didn’t hit the lines at a slant like these two and slip in as the rest of us waited patiently for our turns. It seemed I saw them everywhere I went, stalking, edging their way to the front. However, I am happy to report that they seemed to be an anomaly. The room was packed and warm from so many bodies close together, but in every line I stood in, people were laughing, talking, discussing storylines, spoilers and rumors and waiting patiently. The actors also donned their public faces (beautiful, handsome perfect faces) and graciously answered questions and signed pictures for hours.
After a few hours, I was on sensory overload and I knew I still had to be turned on for Maurice Benard’s event and then Tamara Braun’s event. Katrina, Carolyn and I found ourselves regrouping in the lobby area viewing the pictures Katrina had taken, particularly the ones of Ted King (that, too, is Carolyn’s funny story). I loved being with them. We went our separate ways, then stayed together for a while, and then broke up again. Since I’ve never been one who needs company to visit the ladies room, I appreciated being with other independent souls who were there to enjoy the moment and have fun.
The evening was long but wonderful and I found myself returning to our hotel just before midnight. It occurred to me that I couldn’t remember a time when I had been completely on my own with no one to report to and no immediate deadlines. If I’d wanted, I could have walked for the rest of the night. I could have sat at a restaurant and watched the sun come up. I could have lounged by the pool at the Sportsman’s Lodge and people watched. I didn’t have the energy for any of those things, but I sure liked the idea that I could have if I wanted to. A brief break from my real life, I absorbed the different sensations knowing I’d be safely home with my husband and children the next day.
Ooh, Sunday was tough. After TB’s event Saturday night, I’d climbed into bed at midnight knowing I had to be up by 5:30 a.m. to be ready for NLG’s Coffee Chat and the Q Brunch. After the events, we climbed into Katrina’s rental car and headed to the car rental return talking and laughing all the way.
Arriving at LAX Katrina and I checked in and Carolyn learned that she had to hike miles down the terminal to get to her airline. Plus, she’d changed her flight and had to wait hours in the airport. Katrina and I slumped down on some convenient chairs in a quiet corner to wait. After a few minutes Katrina peered down the concourse and said prophetically, “I think Carolyn dumped us.” I said, “No, she wouldn’t dump us. She’ll call at least.” LOL My cell phone rang about five seconds later and it was Carolyn. Too tired to walk back down she said she was going to wait where she was. Katrina and I sat for the next hour winding down, talking, and easing ourselves into our normal responsible beings. We talked so long and enjoyably that I almost missed my flight. Five minutes before take-off, I found my window seat. The nice lady and man stood up to let me in and I said thank you and then feeling it necessary to warn them announced, “I’m going to ask you to let me out as soon as we’re in the air to use the restroom. I apologize in advance.” I was so tired; I wanted to let them know ahead of time and save all the apologies. Normally, I don’t announce my potty habits. Looking at me strangely the lady said, “Oh, please go now. We’ll stand up.” Guess I scared her. Oh, well.
And so it ended with an uneventful flight and ride home. My mind continues to bubble and words flow through my head as I remember details and prepare to write the individual fan events. Somewhere between now and tomorrow, a column is calling my name. Letters arranging interviews must be written. Did I tell you that? During the luncheon, we talked to the actors about our web site and asked for interviews with several positive responses. Hopefully, some of them will pan out and we will be able to post them as exclusives to EOS. Fun stuff for all of us. And now my fingers must continue to dance as I remember and savor the individual events. So much fun, so many words, so little time.